Best tumble dryer 2018: 9 great machines to dry your clothes fastest and bestest

Fast-drying, energy-saving appliances rated in a rough and tumble struggle for hot-air supremacy

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Hanging the washing out to dry can be a real chore. But there is another way: A tumble dryer speeds up laundry time and makes your clothes more luxuriant to the touch. Mmmm… Luxuriant.

How to buy a tumble dryer

There have long been two types of dryer: condenser and vented. Condenser dryers are the most popular and the easiest to install. They work by condensing the moisture collected during the hot air drying process and porting it as water to a removable container that requires regular emptying, usually after every drying cycle. 

Some condenser dryers can be a wee bit steamy, so it would be advisable to have a window open while it tumbles its tumbling thing. Or, if matters become more critical, invest in a dehumidifier.

Vented machines are cheaper to buy and use the same hot-air drying process. However, instead of using a water container, the moisture is pumped directly out into the open air via either an outlet positioned precisely for that task (in newer builds) or via what can only be described as a dirty great hole drilled into the outside wall, for older domiciles.

Obviously, this system can require professional installation and a particular location area near an electricity outlet. However, it does have two major plusses: you never have to empty a water tank and the walls of your utility room will remain pleasing un-moist.

Nowadays, those seeking the cutting-edge of tumbler tech should look for a heat pump machine. These re-circulate warm air, saving energy and hence cost. Which is just as well, as you'll need to save up to buy one.

Most modern tumble dryers are automatic; that is to say they use sensors that measure the amount of moisture in the clothing and switch off once they’re dry. And gone are the days when dryers were power drains – most of these are expert energy-conservers.

It's important to clear the lint filters of tumble dryers, but the most important thing when buying a tumble dryer is to check online lists of product recalls. 

That's because certain models over the last decade have proven to have a tendency to burst into flames. None of those are still on sale, of course, and we'd like to hope that brands have now put their houses in order in terms of newer machines, but it's worth keeping abreast of, for very obvious reasons.

What is the best tumble dryer?

If you can afford it, we'd always advise you make Miele your first port of call for many of your domestic appliances. 

Time and again, the company’s proved itself with award-winning machines that are efficient, extremely well made and highly reliable. 

That holds true here, with our pick being Miele's TMB 340 WP Eco. 

The newer AEG 8000 Series (T8DEC946R), which boasts much of the same tech, and an emphasis on caring for your clobber is also highly recommended.

At the cheaper end of the scale, the same brand's T65170AV vented dryer is a bargain, although it is one of the ugliest bits of kit you'll ever allow in your house.  

The following are our favourite tumble dryers, in order of how warmly we feel about them.

The best tumble dryers money can buy

1. Miele TDA 150 C

Best tumble dryer overall

Specifications
Type: Condenser
Drum capacity: 7kgs
Energy rating: B
Programs: 7
Reasons to buy
+Efficient drying process+Automatic fragrance dispenser+Renowned brand reliability
Reasons to avoid
-Renowned brand expensiveness-Less than beautiful

This sensational, top-selling, German-made condenser dryer has garnered a Which? Best Buy award and a veritable cornucopia of five-star reviews from a multitude of contented John Lewis buyers. If that’s not a reason for investigation we don’t know what is.

Unlike old-school dryers, this one doesn’t have a circular glass portal. Instead, it comes with a large flat white door that, while not remotely attractive, allows the opening to be more rectangular – and that makes it easier to stuff in large items like duvets and other ungainly items.

The same honeycomb structure Miele uses for its washing machine drums is also employed here. In this instance the idea is that the drum’s hexagonal dimples mean the laundry hovers on a cushion of air, reducing creases in the process. Certainly, stuff does seem to come out pleasingly unrumpled by tumble dryer standards.

This particular model also features FragranceDos. Simply top up the perfume dispenser inside the door with one of Miele’s five scented liquids (£11.99 for up to 50 drying cycles) and your laundry is infused with a pleasant whiff. Ah!

2. Samsung DV90M50003X

Best tumble dryer under £700

Specifications
Type: Vented
Drum capacity: 9kgs
Energy rating: A++
Programs: 14
Reasons to buy
+Huge drying capacity+Easy to clean+Intelligent sensors
Reasons to avoid
-Graphite version is exclusive to one retailer

The white version of this dryer – this graphite version is exclusive to Curry’s – is currently topping the Good Housekeeping Institute’s ratings by a big margin, and no wonder: it’s a very clever machine that uses lower temperatures for better results and longer lasting fabrics. 

Despite a massive 9Kg light-duvet-friendly drum it delivers A plus plus energy performance, and an unusual filter design means it’s much quicker to clean than other heat pump dryers. There’s even a pop-in drying rack that you can use for delicate items such as trainers that you don’t want to stick on a radiator. 

It’s a really good machine with the ability to dry small loads in just 35 seconds, and the reviews are unanimously positive. You can either plumb it in or use its internal tank. Given the small size of the latter, we suggest the former, especially if you tend to dry a lot of towels and duvets.

3. AEG T65170AV

Best tumble dryer for tighter budgets

Specifications
Type: Vented
Drum capacity: 8kgs
Energy rating: C
Programs: 6
Reasons to buy
+No water tray or steam+Great performer
Reasons to avoid
-Lower energy rating-Ugly as hell

If you have an outlet for a tumble dryer installed, or don’t mind paying to have a hole punched through your outside wall, then this vented dryer makes perfect sense.

There’s never a need to empty the water reservoir between drying sessions with a vented machine, as all moisture is pumped outside through a 10cm pipe. Another major plus with vented dryers is that they don’t produce any interior condensation so extra room ventilation isn’t necessary.

The AEG has a huge glassless door leading to its ample 7kg drum and comes equipped with the usual variety of drying programs, from heavy-weight fabrics to woollens and delicates. In terms of efficiency, it does the deed exceedingly well and it’s quiet, too.

Granted, having something this ugly in your laundry area isn't ideal, but if you have a utility room to put it in, nobody’s going to see it, are they? 

4. AEG 8000 Series T8DEC946R

Best heat pump tumble dryer for its price

Specifications
Type: Heat pump condenser
Drum capacity: 8kgs
Energy rating: A++
Programs: 9
Reasons to buy
+Good energy rating+Dries wool and silk
Reasons to avoid
-Still not overly cheap

A very direct rival to the Miele, this also boasts a heat pump and has the ability to dry wool and silk garments, without reducing them to a tiny and tangled parody of their former selves.

It does this by holding the precious garments against the wall of the drum, so they aren’t being bumped about, and drying at comparatively low temperatures. That does mean a slightly longer time before your clobber is ready. However, it also extends the life of said clobber and it’s superbly energy efficient, too.

ProSense tech adjusts run time and energy used to suit the size of the load, up to a substantial 8kg maximum capacity. 

The 8000 Series is not cheap, granted, but you get what you pay for here, as your parents used to say. Pay half, buy twice, etcetera.

5. Samsung DV90M8204AW

Great looking tumble dryer with A++ energy efficiency

Specifications
Type: Heat pump condenser
Drum capacity: 9kgs
Energy rating: A+++
Programs: 14
Reasons to buy
+Good looker+Impressive drying results+Excellent energy rating+Smartphone-based fault diagnosis
Reasons to avoid
-A tad slow

Thankfully there’s no such thing as a white goods beauty contest but if there were, this one would walk it. At 9kgs, it has a perfect sized drum for larger families with an extra kid or two in tow and that blue portal is easily big enough to accommodate a duvet without having to engage in a grappling match.

The Triple-A rated DV8000 comes equipped with an impressive array of features including heat pump technology that saves quite a few extra bob on the energy bill, a very handy indicator to let you know when it’s time to empty the water reservoir and two-way tumbling for tangle-free clothes. 

There's also a mobile app that allows limited remote control – pointless but fun – and more usefully, can diagnose technical problems and advise you on how you can then fix them yourself, or call in an engineer, depending on severity.

Like most higher-end tumblers, this one’s bank of smart sensors measures the amount of moisture left in the clothing and adjusts the drying time accordingly. In most instances this so-called OptimalDry tech works admirably well but don’t expect perfect drying results if you insist on mixing your thin cotton shirts with heavy bath towels. It's clever, not magical.

With 14 different drying cycles to choose from – including wool, iron dry, outdoor care, delicates, cottons and a 35-minute quick dry option – the DV8000 is a superb dryer that’s easy to get a handle on though it is a mite slower to dry than some others in this roundup.

5. Zanussi Lindo 1000 ZDH8333PZ

Best tumble dryer under £500

Specifications
Type: Heat pump condenser
Drum capacity: 8kgs
Energy rating: A+
Programs: 8
Reasons to buy
+A+ energy rating+Decent sized drum+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Looks even cheaper than it actually is

As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the dryer, the less energy efficient it is – and that can be a false economy because you can end up spending more in energy than you saved on the purchase price. So it’s refreshing to see an A+ dryer with decent capacity, a whole host of happy customer reviews and a decent price to boot.

This dryer is very Zanussi, both good and bad: the good includes an 8Kg drum that’ll fit 24 adult t-shirts, a relatively low 66dB noise level, intelligent sensor drying, an easy iron programme, a reversible door and a child lock. 

The bad? A typically incomprehensible set of controls, design straight out of Fisher-Price, a fairly slow cycle (181 minutes) and a door that lacks the solid feel of more premium products. 

It's not like other dryers are exactly gorgeous, but they look better and their controls are generally more straightforward, too. But then, they’re an awful lot more expensive. 

It definitely pays to use our always-updating pricing widget (above) for this one, because there are plenty of deals to be had out there…

Samsung

7. Bosch Serie 8 WTW87560GB

Best tumble dryer for allergy sufferers

Specifications
Type: Heat pump condenser
Drum capacity: 9kgs
Energy rating: A++
Programs: 14
Reasons to buy
+A++ rated for energy saving+Allergy cycle removes 99% of allergens
Reasons to avoid
-Increased depth means it might stick out

If you’re an allergy sufferer, consider this pricy-to-buy but cheap-to-run heat pump condenser from the house of Bosch. The appliance’s Allergy+ cycle is said to remove 99% of allergens like animal hair and pollen. 

The Bosch also dries clothes very well and often before the predicted time suggests. What’s more, most fabrics come out of the machine so lightly fluffed that they can be worn pretty much straight from the dryer. 

It’s not the quietest tumbler in the pack but if it's tucked away in a utility room, chances are you’ll never hear it. 

It's got a decent sized opening and the door opens very wide for easy access. We also love the bright interior light that switches on for the first few seconds of the cycle. 

The Serie 8 comes with the usual range of cycle options including woollens, mixed load, towels, sportswear, down and a Super Quick 40 minute bash for those hurried times. 

The huge, 9kg drum is also ideal for large families, but please note that, perhaps as a result, the machine’s depth measurement is a centimetre or two greater than other models at 65.2cm. Bear that in mind when considering where to locate it.

8. Beko DCR9316

Decent budget dryer from Turkey

Specifications
Type: Condenser
Drum capacity: 9kgs
Energy rating: B
Programs: 16
Reasons to buy
+Smart looks+Big drum+Two-way tumbling
Reasons to avoid
-Lower energy efficiency

Turkey’s Beko (a subsidiary of Arçelik and Koç Holding, as we never tire of mentioning) specialises in low-priced appliances that are well built and mostly well liked by owners. 

This B-rated condenser dryer is surprisingly impressive and pretty well endowed on the tech front. 

Put it this way: you wouldn’t expect a 9kg drum at this price. Nor would you expect full sensor-controlled drying, a plethora of drying programs, a reverse action drum, an interior light and a swish digital display panel. It even comes with a reversible door.

The Beko is large enough for a family of five, runs quietly, has a child lock and an easy-to-empty water tank, and it handles all garments from cottons, towels and synthetics to jeans, sport items and delicates. A cracking budget buy.

Really, the only thing going against this machine is its lower energy efficiency. And maybe the brand name.

9. Zanussi Lindo 300 ZDC8203P

Solid, no-frills tumble dryer

Specifications
Type: Condenser
Drum capacity: 8kgs
Energy rating: B
Programs: 8
Reasons to buy
+Attractive price+Efficient tumbling
Reasons to avoid
-Not so energy efficient

For the price, this Italian condenser unit ticks many a box. True, it’s only rated a B on the energy efficiency scale, but it’s also cheap enough to probably outweigh the extra cost in electricity use. 

The Zanussi is equipped with a large 8kg drum and is very good at collecting moisture and porting it to the container instead of all over the utility room’s walls. 

It’s also one of the fastest drying machines here – all done in about 80 minutes, in most cases – and one of the most efficient. 

We especially rate its extra large door opening and the Easy Iron program, which leaves clothing just the right side of damp and with very few creases. 

If you’re on a tight budget and not too worried about energy consumption, give this smart budget choice a whirl.